"You are a lifesaver who gave me a second chance at life. I'll try to be a caring person just like you and try to contribute to society. I'll never let you down. I believe helping people by doing good deeds is also what you expect me to do!" This was written in a thank-you note from an 11-year-old child to Jiahao Huang, a first-year graduate student from the Department of Photography, School of Fine Arts, NNU. Yesterday, on August 10th, 2021, the life of a never-met child was extended because of Huang's selfless donation of hematopoietic stem cells. For this, Jiahao Huang has become the 3rd successful donor from NNU, the 16th from the Qixia District, and the 104th from Nanjing. By donating hematopoietic stem cells, we can bring hope and love to patients in need. And all these deeds manifest the donors' nobility and courage.
In 2016, Jiahao Huang, who had just finished his college entrance examination, desired to give back to society in a different way. So, he chose to voluntarily donate blood. While donating blood, Huang learned that donating hematopoietic stem cells (bone marrow) could save the lives of patients with blood diseases. So, without hesitation, he left a blood sample and decided to join China's Hematopoietic Stem Cell Volunteer Database for Free Donations. He said, "It makes sense to save a life through hematopoietic stem cell donation."
Five years slipped by and in late May Huang received a call in which the Red Cross of the Qixia District informed him that he was a match for an 11-year-old boy suffering from a blood disease. Hanging up the phone, Huang felt happy because of the expectation of being able to help someone but at the same time he was nervous and worried about the procedure used in the collection of hematopoietic stem cells from donors. After studying the materials provided by the Red Cross and reading relevant literature and some other donors' logs, Huang's concerns were alleviated. "Thinking about the fact that I can save a life offered me a sense of responsibility and braveness, which made me feel much less afraid," said Huang.
Huang shared the good news with his mother, teachers and girlfriend and garnered their full support. In late July, the staff at the Qixia Red Cross again notified Huang that he had passed the high-resolution matching test. He then underwent a pre-donation physical examination.
It's not easy to be hospitalized for donation during the pandemic. When Huang was informed that he was cleared to donate, his lease was about to expire. He decided to postpone moving and chose to donate as soon as possible. On August 5th, after a nucleic acid testing and chest CT scan, Huang was admitted to Zhongda Hospital affiliated to with Southeast University. Because of the pandemic, Huang could not leave the hospital and none of his family members or friends could visit him, which made him feel quite lonely. During the tough period of the hospitalation, Huang's mother comforted and encouraged him through phone calls and text messages: "To save other people, you must hold on." Additionally, deputy party secretary Lijung Song of School of Fine Arts, counselor Yicheng Yang, mentor Aiping Ying also expressed their concern for Huang by making phone calls to him, and fully acknowledged his selfless act. Surrounded by this demonstration of kindness and warmth, Huang was deeply touched, "It was their love that gave me the courage to be in the best condition to complete the donation," he said.
To ensure the formal collection would be carried out smoothly, Huang had to be injected with two doses of a mobilization agent every day, morning and night. Afterwards, he suffered from a series of side effects, like waist pain and dizziness. Thanks to the professional explanation from the doctor, Huang learned that this was normal. Starting on August 5th, Huang received a total of nine injections within four and a half days. In the morning of August 10th, he finally donated his cells successfully. The donation spanned six days from Huang's hospitalization until his discharge.
According to the person in charge of the Nanjing Red Cross, the hematopoietic stem cells donated by Huang, serving as hope for the never-met patient, were sent to the targeted hospital in the night right after the donation.
After the donation, Huang received a letter of thanks. And he also replied to the patient in the WeChat group set up by the Nanjing Red Cross. In the reply, Huang encouraged the patient to follow his heart boldly and do things that he will never regret.
Huang also calls on more people to be hematopoietic stem cell donors, so more patients can have hope and a chance to live.
It has been reported that the first student donor from NNU is Zhendong Shen, an undergraduate student from the School of Physical and Technology, who donated in 2015. The second is Zhenxing Zha, a graduate student from the School of Chemical and Materials Science, who donated in 2019.